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something in literature that just captures the human spirit. >> next on booktv, greg lukianoff argues that america's university and college campuses stifle free speech and discourage students from holding unpopular views. the author contends this environment has increased the country's political and decreased this course. it's about 45 minutes. [applause]
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thanks so much for having me. i was at that first conference and we had randy barnett speaking over there and was exciting to be here for the inauguration from the organization. i'm going to start on a little bit of a personal note. i'm having a big month and i want to let you know since some of your friends of mine and some of you will be. i just got married on the 12th. [applause] i have a book come out on tuesday called campus censorship and the end of the american debate and i am leaving right after this for my 20 it high school reunion took about how free speech is curtailed on the modern american campus and how i believe it harms us all whether we are on campus or not. why did i write this? i wrote "unlearning liberty"
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because i went to stanford specifically to study the first amendment. it's been a passion of mine my entire life. i believe it is in part i have a russian father and a british mother and i definitely came from that background creolizing the rule has to be everybody got to say what they want under the circumstance. the idea that the government could decide what you said even leaving my mom and my dad in charge. in the journalistic society free speech so should be the role and i really believe that. i even did the six additional credits of my own design on the history of the freedom of speech and despite all of that, i was utterly unprepared for the kind of cases i would see on college campuses utterly unprepared and it took a little bit about this and this is one of the reasons i wrote the book because i feel like i've been banging my head against the wall writing for the
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post since 2007 my entire career and i started getting people coming back to me to say sure, students get in trouble for almost anything and most campuses have speech codes and sure people don't talk to each other because they are afraid of getting in trouble. what's the big deal? and i found that the terrifying question to be asked, and "unlearning liberty" is mauney response to the argument of why the free speech on college campuses matters. sick to begin with what i'm talking about, when the book opens in the example of an environmentalist student. he's a decorated emt. we studied the same kind of buddhism and he is an environmentalist. he was protesting a parking garage for environmental reasons on campus and he felt it was
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more environmentally friendly to deal with the traffic problem on campus so he wrote an op-ed about and this very much anger as the university president. apparently a couple years before something similar happened and stopped him from getting his passion project in the parking garage established so he had him come to his office and just him down told him how can you be doing this to me and gave it to him for just being a responsible citizen living his opinion be known. this is in the state university in georgia bound by the first amendment. little did he know that zakaria started looking into his background. the scheme of during the case that they look into his religion and his psychological records and his medical records to make
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the case for punishing the student or kicking him out. he was upset so in protest he made a collage that he put on facebook that included all the consequences that he felt would happen with this parking garage and he called it the environmentalist group on campus the zakaria memorial parking garage the joke being this was a to be part of his legacy. he was already looking for an excuse to kick him out of school and the university flips a node under his door claiming this proved it was a collage attached
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proving that haydon was now clear and present danger to the campus. it was stapled to the notes and if anybody really wants it seriously they thought that they were a threat that is to be non-aggression, not the threat but they didn't even believe he was a threat because if someone is about to go postal you don't slip in under his door. [laughter] but that case opens the book and the one level of spectacular and this is going on by the way they've gotten and used to the universities. i also talked at length in the book about a case in the university of delaware and i recommend you read it because it is one of the most invasive programs we have ever seen and the university thought since i was on the right side of history on the right side of the moral issues, they defend it to this day and it included a mandatory
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program you had to go to where you would stand on one wall if you have this opinion about social security or this opinion about affirmative action. even had mandatory questionnaires about what races and sexes you would be that you had to fill out and one young freshmen responded that is none of your damn business and i can't do that case justice as i have a chapter on the university of delaware but excitingly i had my first article in "the new york times." that happen on thursday and they really wanted me to focus on the elite colleges. so a whole chapter on yale and harvard in the book and i mentioned in one case since i'm so used to these cases at this point i'm kind of surprised at
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how powerful their response was. this was a case where harvard and yale have the game and that's why they play than in football. this is funny thing it is such a big deal but they like to make fun of each other and they have pretty crude slogans plastered on them on t-shirts to make fun of each other. one of them is you can't spell harvard without vd. [laughter] and in 2009 they decided to go highbrow. the ticket quote from the 1920 book by f. scott fitzgerald and it is i believe all harvard men are sissies like i used to be giving it a very pretentious, like a lot of us and extending about why i'm going to princeton. and there are -- and scott fitzgerald, we agree. so they finally got highbrow in
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this fight and they were banned from having this t-shirt because someone claimed this was meant to be an anti-gang slurs. this isn't the delegation. that is in the way that was met in the book. if it was all harvard men are gay like i used to be which is not -- [laughter] i'm not as young as i used to be. but to my knowledge anybody under the age of like 50 using the word souci is making an anachronistic joke. they are making fun of themselves. but they are nonetheless banned from having this on a t-shirt at yale, the university of promises to the students you shouldn't be allowed to mention the unmentionable and say the unsalable it's really free speech language but the f. scott fitzgerald quote was a bridge too far.
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people took notice of that in "the new york times" piece. i was also fond of the fact i had a peace at the same time a lot of people have a piece on "the new york times" on the same day making the point of all of the different presidential debates took place at universities including hofstra that have ridiculous speech codes and i have some fun pointing out that if he were to apply these to the presidential candidates by the plan language of these codes and i actually made the argument that i really wish they would enforce them against the candidates because the reason they survive is because they are sort of kept in the back door when they needed to be if they really were applied across the board they wouldn't last a day because frankly the way they were so broadly worded that devotee is guilty of violating them.
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i assume most of you know this but i want to be clear. the law is extremely protective of the free-speech rights of college students. extremely protective. obviously of free speech, period but on the campuses in particular the case is coming out of the 1970's. the supreme court was very clear that the universities cannot restrict even highly offensive speech on campus. this is very clearly established there's been over a dozen legal opinions and challenges to the campus speech codes over the past several decades and every one of them has been successful 65% of campuses the three injured 92 campuses that we surveyed in the most recent study maintained speech codes that are either unconstitutional and public colleges or private
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colleges violate that initial promise of freedom of speech. we've been able to a speech code of the month since 2005 on. we've done it every single months and we are in no danger of running out of the codes and that is outrageous given that the public colleges these are all unconstitutional not even a close call but i will give you an example of this. jackson state university and jacksonville alabama no student shall threaten, offend or degrade anyone on the university owned or operated property. everyone of you is guilty of doing this at some point. sorry. or at least able to be accused of giving this. the student libertarian university that included in the
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definition of harassment inappropriately directed laughter. [laughter] where did you direct that? [laughter] so again everybody is guilty of violating this and you will leave that to the ministers to enforce this. i do feel like the parallels between the campus speech codes and the victorian era are very strong and the florida gulf coast university has simply band the expressions deemed inappropriate. just amazing. and i could go on and i do go on at great length about this. but do check out the book. then there comes the wackier political cases probably one of the classic ones and the best known cases but not well known was a case in indiana where a student was punished or from the
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guilty of racial harassment because he was publicly reading a book. the book was called motor dame versus the klan. it celebrates the defeat of the plan. he was found guilty of racial harassment. the fact he tried to explain over and over again it's actually against -- is an antiklan book. it doesn't matter. that's all that mattered. and also it applies to the flat out political speech. we had some cases we had the houston state university case, free-speech they were made to tear it down by the campus. we have a video about we work with them on and whether it is -- then there is the phenomenon of the free speech zones which some philosophy students don't
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know about. they restrict freedom of speech to a tiny areas on campus. one of my early experiences fighting these was texas tech university where 28,000 students, one of the largest universities in the country contacted by in time for mix students who wanted to have a protest of what was going to be and they are being told that they have to get into a 20 feet wide gazebo which was the only place for free-speech activities on campus. 28,000 students. i had a friend who is a math degree from mit who did an analysis of this and worked out if god forbid all 28,000 students wish to express themselves at once you would have to crush them down to a rhenium of 238. [laughter] very serious like no, no, to 38.
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so that's -- the universities are allowed a reasonable time restrictions, things that allow people to study but always have the power to stop that kind of stuff but there is nothing reasonable the public college telling people the speech rights are restricted to the gazebo. more recently the work with the young americans for liberty on this case, university of cincinnati. you have to apply ten days in advance if you wish to protest on campus. they want the right to work petition that was a part of the initiative that was time sensitive. they asked if they would be able to do it but they were told they
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were not allowed to but if they were seen walking around the campus of the police would be called. now it's even worse because they had evidence that this was only being enforced selectively making it worse in terms of the constitution. but what is the most disturbing about this case is that the university of cincinnati is here in 2012 decided that we are going to defend this one in court. i don't think anyone would say that there would be constitutional. the university of cincinnati went to battle it out and we think it had something to do with the very unwise fire by the ohio government to say that to hundred thousand dollars allocated to fight the litigation. we got that money we might as well spend it.
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having to point out new design to spend state money to defend a violation of the bill of rights think that through. one of the scariest things as people have gotten used to this stuff. i keep my nose clean and talk to my friends i agree with. it's to talk about how can this censorship whether you've been a victim of it or not forms the assault and the first reason is the chilling effect. of a chilling effect is the idea if you know there is any risk whatsoever of getting in trouble for your opinion. i'm sure you'll have the experiences of an opinionated
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professor. and i am sure given this group with the native professors like i'm going to debate this guy but not everybody is like that. and so students have to actually worry about important issues and they do to enact not one but several examples of someone getting in trouble for being on the, quote on quote, wrong side of it and students are getting the message is a phenomena that professors have been writing about for a long time called the silent classroom phenomena. you don't talk very much in class. and i've been reading articles about this for ten years now. actually more like 12 years now and it never comes up the fact that students actually get in trouble for having the wrong opinion on campus might have something to do with whether they were more resonant to speak
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their minds and there were the amazing association of universities the published my piece it was a study of 24,000 students something like 9,000 faculty and staff and they went with what i consider the less dramatic number. when asked the question do you think it is safe to hold unpopular positions on campus, safe to hold. think about how weak that language is. the worst number is of the freshmen came in thinking of course it is safe to hold unpopular views on campus the
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freshmen are the most of domestic. only 30% strongly agreed in a statement in the top college campuses. the university professors were asked the question too parrot bay strong we agreed that it's safe to hold the unpopular views something's gone terribly, terribly wrong and also make the argument in the book that this leads to the critical thinking skills. it at least contributes to it. it's the only reason why we are coming to the events like this because we ended getting such great students that love debate and discussion and that is a quality that really has to maintain and this is something the jon stewart was warning us
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about in the 1859 dhaka on liberty everyone and is 100% right. what he said was if we don't want to face opposing opinions we tend to hold our believe the same way people hold prejudices' they can't explain why they believe what they believe and i see this -- i feel like this is happening in our society. i currently -- i believe this is leading into the larger society and i make this argument. by all accounts we should be living in the golden age of
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american discourse read more americans are college educated than they've ever been and if the colleges are doing their job making us better critical thinkers and more nimble we are able to take on the opinions and better able to think the issues through and then we should be living in the ultimate best time for this course and does anybody currently think that we are living in a golden age of political discourse? we should think things to be better and one of the things. the universities are places where students are taught certain topics have to walk on eggshells and what ends up happening in this situation is not that people change their mind about what they believe that they just play it safe. the talk to people they already agree with and if there is one thing the research is clear on if you live in an eco chamber you will be much more certain with the listening to understand
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where the other side is coming from and so one of the things that is frustrating right now is the tightly packed ourselves in the ego chambers the tighter the echo chamber is high school students have more arguments with people they disagree with politically and ph.d. is have the least and that is also in "unlearning liberty." you like to seek out the intelligent person you agree with and i think that is something our whole society needs to learn and that is what the universities need to be teaching. it's a great intellectual habit. but you are a million miles away from that if you haven't gotten past the level of having the wrong opinion. as i say in the book very simply, the downstream result of the college censorship is that makes us all just a little bit
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dumber. we end up not having the arguments we need to have incidents occurred in the discussion of legitimizing sheepdog jews to meaningful debate and discussion whether it is often the door what is your political background that security test the selective of tightness. they are really perfecting of rage on the campuses. the title of the book is "unlearning liberty" is more frightening part of it. i'm scared at how use to the free speech zones are. watching a debate on a college campus where students accepted there should be free speech zone and then decided what kind of speech should we allow the zone
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and this was a terrible mess education. it doesn't bode well for the future of the rights with liberally and innovation free speech, freedom of conscience due process how much we owe it to them and i'm afraid the students are being educated in an environment that doesn't understand them very well either and i think alan charles the cofounder says most things best a nation that does not educated and liberty will not long endure in liberty and will not even know when it is lost. and i see that happening and it frightens me. please read the book. all royalties don't go to me. this is for fire for the free
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speech on college campus and even if you know this issue well you will be shocked by some of these cases. my new wife has been reading it and she was afraid she wouldn't like it and she's been reading to me about all the cases. and i'm like all some. and must be good. there will be cases that will make you angry and horrifying you and sometimes there is a case that will just make you laugh out loud because it is that ridiculous. also check out your own policies at your own school at we have a database of cofids -- code. checkout you're own school policy and there's a chance to have policies to get a red
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light. most importantly, fight back to we don't accept campus censorship as the new norm. i've been so proud as a group the fact they've been putting up free-speech walls even though they get torn down by the way with a number of different campuses but to make the pointless and we are going to talk and the sky isn't going to fall. we can be a free people and you'd be surprised at how smart 90% of what we have to say is and the idea that we should get rid of free speech because every often you might be offended by something somebody says that is a small price to pay for the society to be as i said, fight back, thanks for listening, open to question and please go to the microphone and keep the questions to write on campus. c-span has asked if you do have questions though please go to the microphone.
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>> we are fighting back there. i wanted to ask you about. they are in forcing them, it almost appears there is a noble thing to do to take a song and say from the do-gooder's constantly so i'm wondering if you have any specific advice for students or administrators trying to hold the high ground. >> the longer our homework is to listen to the speeches on the campus freedom network conference. jonathan welsh as one of the most thoughtful proponents of the freedom of speech as a leading force and one of the
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points that he makes and i make is in a democracy you don't need freedom of speech to protect popular mainstream points of view. democracy does that. you need a freedom of speech to protect minority points of view. it's always been about protecting the oddball never apologize for that. and they argue certain students are too weak to live with freedom. then there's also for me i made a point of not using this technology as a word in this book because i wanted to make sure that would be read. [laughter] but it all comes down to system already. there is nothing more arrogant than to assume the you know so much about the universe you can
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decide where the wisdom will come from even that stupid joke even that crazy op-ed there is a conservative agitator that will send e-mails about the second amendment making stanford second antiamendment. there are different philosophers. i talked about my friends that have been killed and working with city high school kids and talked about your duty to their experiences the friends who had been killed, and it was a personal discussion that we never would have had if it weren't for the provocation and at the end of its that's why i never should have said this in the first place.
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free speech as a moral high ground. they tell you what to say so never see that. like a lot of private colleges it has pretty restrictive speech codes and i know you've talked a little bit about the whole guarantee of the free speech but there's still a lot fewer tools. it's a lot harder to make the case for free speech and private universities how would you recommend we go about that? >> i don't spend too much time on that because i write so much about this. i have some real religion but the distinction of private and public colleges but the answer this question a lot. the first amendment applies to the public colleges. it doesn't apply to the public. there's something called the leonard law that applies the first amendment standards in
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california universities. but the private universities are bound by their own promises in the growing language those are enforceable contracts in the states particularly in massachusetts and new york by the way those are in forcible. but it's not just the legal enforceability it is their moral power. and believe me i know this from experience. columbia, harvard, yale do not like being called up. it is harder. it is a harder road but you're holding them against their own values and people within that university who know they are wrong.
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you've mentioned a lot about the cases. the universities that have violated the free-speech laws that have broken their contractual agreements. can you name any of the universities that have model free-speech codes in the first amendment? >> it's kind of funny because we rate the coverage is according to the system i came up with. we talk about 65% we are talking about the red light university. is it 16 greenlight colleges? but that doesn't put a very good colleges, dartmouth. but i think the pen is the effort of the course.
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dartmouth is the effort of a bunch of alumni to give it a fight. so i can't point to the university that has a model speech that i can point to the 16 colleges on the web site that you can look at to see what they're doing right. i'm from cardozo law school and i am curious that a phenomena that's been occurring in the past years or so this he is expressing unpopular viewpoints that a lot of universities have been shouted down not repressed but shouted down by the unruly crowds. that happened to ward connolly some years ago to i was wondering what principle, what sort of take do you take on the sentences given that it's not the administration in a speech? >> i think it is pretty clear
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cut. it's kind of liked it is analogous to the u.s. government responsibility and there is a beautiful book talks about 1837 when a mob kills the reverend who is an abolitionist. they killed him because they destroyed his press because they didn't love what he had to say and he pointed out in a moment in history when they realize not only the free speech. the main concern is to make sure the investor issue prevents them from happening and they condemn it and do the best to prevent it from happening. first the campuses have to not senator you and would be happy if they stopped doing that but they can't let the mob. a perfect example of when these two forces came together to work as one and it's in the book
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washington state university, the student wrote a play called the passion of offending of a buddy. he put it on the ticket. he put it everywhere. it isn't easily defended and this african-american student had the absolute goal of defending everybody and he made a point of it defending it all throughout. the university worked with students angry about the content of the play and they told them to stand up in the middle and shout i am offended which is ironic because that is the point of the play. it's going to go over badly. and the university president actually defended the next day. the students that disrupted the
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play as saying this was a very irresponsible exercise of the freedom of speech on the part of the angry mob of students that shut down the play and its stunning that they got that one. it's a great point and the censorship campuses. >> my name is dave clemens from ontario. i was wondering if you see any room for fire to expand into canada. i think there's a great group in canada. my only thing is i think the death of a nonprofit caused them to spread too thin. as a people ask if we want to do work in high schools. i don't want fire to expand to anything other than working on american campuses and the free speech of conscious issues
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because i think that we have our effectiveness. what can canada desperately needs to fire and if anybody wants to start a canadian fire, i am happy to get behind them and push. >> i go to sarah lawrence college and one with not so great free speech. >> you get a lot of free money. [laughter] >> i wanted to ask you specifically about as a reason for censorship. people will bring up the fact free-speech may be triggering the things that have gone through dramatic incidences' of the gender or the race that could be offended by certain dramatic incidences' and that is put forth as a reason for censorship. >> i haven't run into that
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argument that often and i usually make fun of denver cities where the lack of creativity is coming up with excuses. the thing that i find worrisome is how the end up watering down things like medical reasons yet there is a policy that said sexual harassment takes place in the spectrum that includes everything from of colored jokes his sexual assault. a dirty joke and you really have to reconsider your priorities. this isn't doing anyone any favors. it's true the first amendment and freedom of speech require a certain amount of toughness to talk and live as free citizens those require on the part of the
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citizens and i have time for one more question. i want to shift focus a little but since you are talking more about the free-speech area and what you are seeing now is actually universities claiming to put it in a program they have to believe in a certain set of ideas and practice that you find immoral how can a student or alumni perhaps work to change the rules slightly different than the speech code. it stuns me that i have to say this much that is to tell people what they can't say. it is much worse to tell people what they have to say and what
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they have to believe. there is a whole chapter in the book talking about cases. some of the schools of education where the students were literally getting required to lobby the government for positions they didn't believe then in order to graduate. it's just absolutely startling but the best way to fight fire because we've been taking on columbia because it has on the teachers college of the commitment to social justice and its policies. sure, in your own way you believe in it. but when you say to anybody outside of academia they are like was that not a political litmus test? there is no way that you can evaluate someone's commitment without evaluating what they believe politically, with the believe philosophically. so the good news is those kinds
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of violations of conscience and the university's it does seem to get there is something so wrong with them. 20 stevan they must believe in their heart and everybody else does so it works in those cases. >> that's all the time i have. i am heading up to might running a high school reunion. thanks for having me. [applause] here are the best selling, and print and e-book nonfiction titles according to the new york times.
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Book TV
CSPAN December 1, 2012 10:15am-11:00am EST

Greg Lukianoff Education. (2012) 'Unlearning Liberty Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Cincinnati 3, New York 3, Canada 2, F. Scott Fitzgerald 2, Cardozo 1, Zakaria 1, Sarah Lawrence 1, Connolly 1, Jon Stewart 1, Stevan 1, Haydon 1, Dave Clemens 1, Greg Lukianoff 1, Alabama 1, The University 1, Jackson State University 1, Rhenium 1, Yale 1, Alan Charles 1, Randy Barnett 1
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